TCT Event Schedule, Gender Ratio and Cap Rules Rules, Equity Efforts Discussed

Colorado Springs, Colo. (Dec. 21, 2018) – USA Ultimate’s Competition Working Group met in Denver early this month for its annual meeting to discuss various aspects of the sport’s competition structure across competition divisions – youth, college, club and beach – as well as outreach. The meeting included ten USA Ultimate staff members, two members of the board of directors and 24 key volunteers and was held over two days. Following the meeting and beginning with the club division, we are releasing summaries of each smaller group’s discussion. The youth competition, outreach, beach and college recaps will be released in the coming weeks. 

The club working group consists of three national directors – National Women’s Director Kate Wilson, National Mixed Director Remy Schor and National Men’s Director Adam Goff – and two elected player representatives from each gender division: women’s division representatives Amber Sinicrope and Akina Younge, mixed division representatives Isaiah Bryant and Sarah Meckstroth, and men’s division representatives Andrew Francis and Chris Novielli.

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2018 Club Working Group
L-R (standing): Wilson, Sinicrope, Teal Dabney, Schor, Meckstroth, Goff, Younge
(kneeling): Novielli, Francis, Bryant, Will Deaver

The Club Working Group discussed the 2019 and 2020 Triple Crown Tour (TCT) schedules. The 2019 schedule will look similar to the 2018 calendar with the regular season ending the weekend before the Pro Championships for teams not participating in the event. The group did discuss and plans to include one addition to the TCT schedule beginning in 2019: a new, second Select Flight Invite event, dependent on evaluating bids. 

The discussion about the 2020 season was much broader and included some creative thinking about expanded playing opportunities for various flights and creating more localized playing opportunities, including match play and regional regular-season events. The discussion will continue in early 2019 in anticipation of planning for the 2020 season.

The group added consistent application of cap lengths in tournaments to help with fairness. In the 2019 season, all tournaments that use the soft time cap will be required to have a 20 minute soft cap and at least 10 minutes between the hard cap and the start of the next round. This is the same as specified in the formats manual.

The Club Working Group discussed ways to encourage the conversation around racial, class and gender equity. The group recognized that forums have been held at Pro and Elite Flight events in the past and agreed it was important to provide opportunities for teams in other flights to have similar opportunities. The group recommends that, as part of its larger strategic efforts around diversity, equity and inclusion, USA Ultimate prioritize extending these conversations to teams in the Select and Classic Flights, perhaps in conjunction with events like the Select Flight Invite. The group also brainstormed ways to incorporate opportunities for discussion into event schedules. 

The group agreed to keep the World Flying Disc Federation’s Mixed Gender Ratio Rule B in effect for all TCT events. The rule was received positively during the 2018 season. While the goal continues to be movement toward Rule A or similar, it will likely be a multi-year process while teams continue to adjust strategies and rosters to support the change. The group recommends that a marker be placed in the genzone at the beginning of each game to clarify for players and spectators which end zone is the genzone. The group also discussed setting a time limit for announcing the gender ratio a team plans to use at the beginning of each point. The limit will be determined in conjunction with the Rules and Observer Working Groups and included in the 2019 Club Guidelines.

The group also decided to eliminate the rule that requires each mixed team to have one male and one female spirit captain. It was recognized that the rule negatively impacts those teams who only have a female captain. Mixed teams may have up to two official spirit captains. The Club Working Group strongly recommends that each team have leadership and spirit captains who represent the diversity of their team.

The group agreed to keep the women’s growth bid from sectionals to regionals. The rule helps address the small size of regional events and the quality of sectional events. Introduced in 2018, the rule allows for women’s teams to earn a sectional growth bid by competing in 10 games over the course of the regular season, which increases the size of regional events, with regional championship events staying capped at 16 teams. The rule only applies to the women’s division. The group discussed some small changes to the rule, including a potential requirement that the growth rule does not result in an odd number of teams at a regional championship event, and will look for different ways to increase its impact during 2019 prior to finalization of the TCT guidelines. 

The group also supports USA Ultimate updating the organization’s website, specifically to provide easier access to team lists, ideally with contact information, so teams can schedule tournaments and round-robin play. The group requested that USAU explore the creation of a map that shows where teams are located geographically. 

Stay tuned to for more updates from the 2018 Competition Working Group meeting.

2018 Competition Working Group